Catholic Conference of Ohio
Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Issues - Catholic Conference of Ohio

Immigration Reform

 

The Gospel calls us to welcome immigrants with compassion and hopeful expectation. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 25:35). Ohio has a large number of Hispanic immigrant workers recruited by businesses to labor year round in Ohio industries. Many are undocumented.

The Catholic Conference of Ohio believes that current federal immigration law is unjust, unnecessarily restrictive and fails to properly balance the rights of immigrant workers and their families with the state’s right to control its borders. We support comprehensive reforms at the national level.

Ohio should show judicious restraint in pursuing state enforcement legislation, especially while federal courts review such initiatives that were enacted in other states.

Catholic Teaching

"God’s love transcends every human barrier, language, culture, and country border. The Gospel calls us to welcome immigrants with compassion and hopeful expectation. “ I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matt. 25:35). These words challenge each of us to see the dignity and sacredness of God that is reflected through people of all cultures and nations, regardless of legal status.

Pope John Paul II stated: “Who is my neighbor? The neighbor is every human being, without exception. It is not necessary to ask his nationality, or to which social or religious group he belongs. If he is in need, he must be helped...

We believe each person has opportunities to reach out in welcome to immigrant workers. Consider the following questions:

  • Are we as a society, as church, as employers, as consumers treating immigrants with dignity and justice?
  • Do my own attitudes toward immigrants reflect God’s love and concern for all persons?
  • How am I involved in reaching out to new immigrants in support of their pastoral and material needs?
  • What am I willing to do on behalf of the justice needs of immigrants?"

God’s Welcoming Presence: A Call To Stand In Solidarity With Ohio’s Immigrants, Ohio Catholic Bishops, February 2001

Concerns Raised over the Administration's Immigration Principles and Policies

USCCB Migration Committee Chairman Exhorts Congress to Enact True Protection for "Dreamers"

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the Committee on Migration, issued the following statement urging Congress to “ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all.”

“The Administration’s Immigration Principles and Policies do not provide the way forward for comprehensive immigration reform rooted in respect for human life and dignity, and for the security of our citizens. They are not reflective of our country’s immigrant past, and they attack the most vulnerable, notably unaccompanied children and many others who flee persecution. Most unfortunately, the principles fail to recognize that the family is the fundamental building block of our immigration system, our society, and our Church.

“Since July, Congress has introduced legislative solutions for Dreamers, including the Dream Act. The Administration should focus attention on ensuring that a legislative solution for Dreamers is found as soon as possible. Every day that passes without that solution, these youth experience growing apprehension for their futures and their families. Each passing day brings us all a step closer to March 2018, when DACA recipients will begin to lose legal work privileges, and far worse, face the threat of deportation and family separation.

“For this reason, we exhort Congress to take up legislation and move forward promptly to ensure true protection for Dreamers once and for all. Together with so many others of good will, we shall continue to offer welcome and support to these remarkable young people, and we shall not stop advocating for their permanent protection and eventual citizenship.”

More information

Share the Journey

Support Immigrants and Refugees throughout the World

On September 27, 2017 Pope Francis launched a global campaign to support migrants and refugees around the world. 

Catholic leaders across parishes, schools, and universities can animate their communities to participate through prayer and action.

 

Ohio Dioceses Seeking to Send 10,000 Letters to Congress Urging support for the DREAM ACT.  

This Act is intended to protect immigrant youth who entered the United States as children and know America as their only home. The Act will provide conditional resident status for young people who were eligible under the DACA Program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

We need your letters and calls to Congress, and the President, in support of this Act.

House Bill H.R. 3440 and the Senate Bill S. 1615 both establish the Dream Act.  Please take a moment today to send an email to your legislators asking them to sponsor and vote for these bills or similar legislation.

 

USCCB Migration Chairman “Gravely Concerned” About Presidential Determination For Refugee Admissions

"Disturbed and Deeply Disappointed" says Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, Chairman of the USCCB Committee on Migration

On September 27, 2017, the Administration, in a consultation with Congress, proposed to only admit up to 45,000 refugees to the United States in fiscal year 2018. This Presidential Determination (PD) for Refugee Admissions is the lowest since the founding of the program in 1980 and marks the second consecutive year that the new Administration has reduced the PD. Currently there are 65 million displaced people and 22 million refugees worldwide.

Read the USCCB Statement

Bishop Nelson Perez Seeks Reprieve on Deportation Order

New Bishop of Cleveland Advocates for Pedro Hernandez-Ramirez

Bishop Nelson Perez personally appealed to immigration officials Tuesday, September 26, 2017 to allow Pedro Hernandez- Ramirez to stay in the United States and care for his stepson, Juan Pino, who has cerebral palsy and mental disabilities.

Perez accompanied Hernandez- Ramirez and family to the office of Enforcement and Removal Operations at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Brooklyn Heights, where Hernandez-Ramirez was told to report before his scheduled deportation Thursday. Perez was not permitted to meet with ICE officials, and instead gave them a statement in support of Hernandez-Ramirez.

''The bishop wanted to go there and show his support,'' diocese spokesman Robert Tayak said. ''He spoke with the family and prayed with them. It was gut-wrenching. It's really evident that it is a beautiful family.''

USCCB President, Vice President and Chairmen Denounce Decision to End DACA

"Cancellation of the DACA Program is Reprehensible"

Over 780,000 youth received protection from the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) since its inception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2012. DACA provided no legal status or government benefits but did provide recipients with temporary employment authorization to work in the United States and reprieve from deportation.

 


USCCB Statement

“The cancellation of the DACA program is reprehensible. It causes unnecessary fear for DACA youth and their families. These youth entered the U.S. as minors and often know America as their only home. The Catholic Church has long watched with pride and admiration as DACA youth live out their daily lives with hope and a determination to flourish and contribute to society: continuing to work and provide for their families, continuing to serve in the military, and continuing to receive an education. Now, after months of anxiety and fear about their futures, these brave young people face deportation. This decision is unacceptable and does not reflect who we are as Americans.

The Church has recognized and proclaimed the need to welcome young people: ‘Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me' (Mark 9:37). Today, our nation has done the opposite of how Scripture calls us to respond. It is a step back from the progress that we need to make as a country. Today’s actions represent a heartbreaking moment in our history that shows the absence of mercy and good will, and a short-sighted vision for the future. DACA youth are woven into the fabric of our country and of our Church, and are, by every social and human measure, American youth.

We strongly urge Congress to act and immediately resume work toward a legislative solution. We pledge our support to work on finding an expeditious means of protection for DACA youth.

As people of faith, we say to DACA youth – regardless of your immigration status, you are children of God and welcome in the Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church supports you and will advocate for you.”

September 5, 2017: USCCB President Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston,  USCCB Vice President, Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angles, Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman, Committee on Migration, and Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of Yakima, chairman of the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers

Church Teachings on Immigration

USCCB Migration Chairman Deeply Disappointed By Administration’s Decision To Terminate The Central American Minors Parole Program

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Texas, chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, expresses his opposition to the Administration's decision to end parole processing for individuals in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala who apply to enter the U.S. through the Central American Minors (CAM) program. Bishop Vasquez, who is currently in El Salvador, says that the elimination of this program puts the lives of vulnerable children at risk for greater harm.

Bishop Vásquez' full statement follows:

"My brother bishops and I are deeply disappointed by the Administration's decision to terminate the critical parole option of the CAM program.  In terminating the parole option, the Administration has unnecessarily chosen to cut off proven and safe alternatives to irregular and dangerous migration for Central American children, including those previously approved for parole who are awaiting travel in their home countries. Pope Francis has called on us to protect migrant children, noting that "among migrants, children constitute the most vulnerable group." We supported the CAM program, which included both refugee and parole options, precisely because it provided a legal and organized way for children to migrate to the United States and reunify with families. Terminating the parole program will neither promote safety for these children nor help our government regulate migration.

In El Salvador, we have seen first-hand the very real problems that these children face. The Church, with its global presence, learns of this violence and persecution every day, in migrant shelters and in repatriation centers. We know that children must be protected. They must be given the ability to remain in their home countries and find opportunities, but they must also be able to leave and migrate safely to find protection when there are no alternatives. The CAM parole program offered part of that solution - a legal way to migrate for the most vulnerable of children."

Chairmen from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Raise Concerns over Proposed Federal Budget

The moral measure of the federal budget is how well it promotes the common good of all, especially the most vulnerable

President Trump's proposed budget calls for a sharp increase in military spending while making significant cuts across much of the rest of government, including reductions in many long-standing federal programs that assist the poor and vulnerable.

In letters to both the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, the bishops reaffirmed the federal budget as a moral document containing profound implications for the common good of our nation and world. The letter states that the "budget requires difficult decisions that ought to be guided by moral criteria that protect human life and dignity, give central importance to 'the least of these' (Matthew 25), and promote the welfare of workers and families who struggle to live in dignity."

"Sharp increases in defense and immigration enforcement spending, coupled with simultaneous and severe reductions to non-defense discretionary spending, particularly to many domestic and international programs that assist the most vulnerable, would be profoundly troubling.  Such deep cuts would pose a threat to the security of our nation and world, and would harm people facing dire circumstances. When the impact of other potential legislative proposals, including health care and tax policies, are taken into account, the prospects for vulnerable people become even bleaker." 

The letter was signed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, Chairman, Committee on International Justice and Peace, Bishop George V. Murry, SJ, of Youngstown, Chairman, Committee on Catholic Education, Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, of Burlington, Chairman, Committee on Communications, and Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, Chairman, Committee on Migration. 

The full text of the letter sent to the U.S. Senate/U.S. House of Representatives is available at:  

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/federal-budget/letter-to-congress-on-fy-2018-federal-budget-2017-05-19.cfm

U.S. Bishops Chairman Calls On Senate To Strip Harmful Proposals From House-Passed Health Care Bill

American Health Care Act still contains major defects

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, called on the Senate to strip out the harmful provisions of the bill when the chamber takes it up for consideration.

"Even with efforts to improve the bill before passage, the American Health Care Act still contains major defects, particularly regarding changes to Medicaid that risk coverage and affordability for millions; it is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded," said Bishop Dewane. "The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congress attempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable Care Act."

Full Statement
Statement of Concern by the Catholic Health Association
Statement of Concern by Catholic Charities USA

Archdiocese of Cincinnati Pleads for the Non-deportation of Maribel Trujillo

Previous Immigration ruling had declared her case "low priority and no treat to public safety" - new hearing issues a deportation order

On April 5, 2017, ICE officials arrested Trujillo-Diaz. who has no criminal record and no repeat immigration violations. The breadwinner of her family and primary caretaker to her children, ages 14 to 3, faces an April 11 deportation. On April 6, 2017 the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, issued the follwing statement: 

"The Trump Administration has repeatedly announced that its approach towards immigration enforcement would focus on public safety and removing criminal elements from our communities.  Today, we plea to our political leaders and law enforcement to live up to that in the case of Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a devoted wife and mother and outstanding member of her church and community.  

Maribel, a wife, a mother of four and an active member of St. Julie Billiart Parish in Hamilton, fled Mexico in 2002.  She currently has a pending asylum case, based on the situation that her family has been targeted by Mexican cartels because they have refused to work for them. 

Last year, when Maribel was close to deportation, thousands of Catholic faithful and other supporters throughout Butler County and Cincinnati sent letters, pleading for her to stay.  Immigration officials then responded by granting her prosecutorial discretion, considering her too low of a priority and no threat to public safety.  Maribel has been reporting regularly since then to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), as instructed.  At her check-in appointment on Monday, she was told that she could remain at home as her asylum case was further reviewed.  Suddenly yesterday, ICE arrived at her brother’s house as she prepared to go to work, taking her into custody for imminent deportation without having the chance to say goodbye to all her children.  This is cruel and unacceptable.

Maribel has made a life in Ohio based on positive contributions to her church and her community.  She has no criminal history.  She is a lay leader at her parish, whose members are surrounding her with prayers that she be permitted to remain with them and her family.  Maribel’s children, ages 14, 12, 10 and 3, are all U.S. citizens.  Her 3-year-old daughter has recurring seizures and requires the attention and care of her mother.

We urge that prosecutorial discretion for Maribel be extended.  We fully respect the Department of Homeland Security’s duty to enforce our immigration laws, and we recognize that this is not an easy task.  At the same time, it is clear that the common good cannot be served at this stage by separating this wife and mother from her family.  Our community gains nothing by being left with a single-parent household when such a responsible and well respected family can be kept together.  We urge that our elected and administrative officials exercise mercy for Maribel."  

More information

Ohio Bishops Issue Letter of Concern regarding Changes to Immigration and Migration

Call for comprehensive reform, support for children and intact families, enforcement efforts that focus on threats to public safety, and maintaining programs for refugees

The Bishops call upon Congress to address our nation's broken immigration system through comprehensive reform that improves security and creates more legal and transparent paths to immigration. 

While not advocating for the breaking of laws, the Bishops urge a more humane enforcement of immigration laws that distinguishes between actual criminals and otherwise law-abiding, undocumented immigrant family members. 

In Ohio, the Catholic Church has a refugee resettlement network that resettled over 1000 refugees in 2016. Catholic parishes and diocesan offices also work in collaboration with other refugee resettlement programs in Ohio. These programs have safely and compassionately resettled refugees from all over the world, including a small number from Syria.  The refugee program is one of the most vetted processes for entry into the United States.  The Bishops do not oppose efforts to improve on the system, should there be a need.  However, the temporary shutdown of all refugee admissions, and the more than 60 percent reduction in the number of refugees who can be resettled, create a chilling effect on our ability to maintain programs and ongoing assistance. 

The Bishops also encourage Congress to pass the BRIDGE Act: S.128/H.R. 496. This Act will protect the dignity of DACA-eligible youth by ensuring that these individuals, who were brought to the United States as children and are contributing so much to our nation, can continue to live their lives free of the anxiety that they could be deported at any time.

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